Gates Has Unlikely Ally in Defense Fight: Tea Party

Conservative group willing to shrink military

By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 7, 2010 11:42 AM CDT

(Newser) – Robert Gates wants to impose a new fiscal discipline on the military by slashing millions from weapons programs—and he may have an unlikely ally in his uphill battle: the Tea Party. The conservative group is so dedicated to cutting government spending that many of its members are backing off from the Republican idea that military budgets are special, Politico reports.

The willingness of normally hawkish conservatives to reduce defense spending puts them in agreement with the likes of Nancy Pelosi and other left-wing Dems—a bizarre alignment that Gates, as an independent, may be uniquely able to capitalize on. “Everything is on the table,” said an official from Tea Party Patriots. “I have yet to hear anyone say, ‘We can’t touch defense spending,’ or any other issue. Any tea partier who says something else lacks integrity.”

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates address media aboard a U.S. Military aircraft, en route to Baku, Azerbaijan, from Singapore, Sunday, June 6, 2010.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, Pool)
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